The chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory
and Support Service has been suspended.
Diane Shepherd was appointed to head CAFCASS when it was set up
by the Lord Chancellor’s Department in April to unify the
family court welfare service, the children’s division of the
official solicitor and the local authority panels of guardians ad
litem, now children’s guardians.
But the organisation has been dogged with difficulties since its
inception, not least a long-running dispute with the 700-plus
self-employed children’s guardians culminating in a high
court defeat in September.
Last week, Cafcass chairperson Anthony Newson refused to comment
on the nature and content of the investigation into Shepherd
– whom employees had expected back from sick leave on 12
November – but said the board “felt it was right for Diane
not to return to her duties until that investigation is